Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scam Artists Investigations: Public Corruption Now Top Criminal Activity of FBI

Signs of the Times?--1,800 Government officials in U.S. sent Off to Slammer Over Past 2 Years

If at first you don't succeed, blame somebody else and seek counseling

Public officials' creed? Much of this is going on right now as an FBI crackdown has netted a major "catch" of public officials.

Would you call this level of scam artists' activity in government a top priority?--2,500 pending cases, a 50% increase in public corruption over the past 5 years? The FBI calls it just that. It has already sent 1,800 government officials "up the river" over the past 2 years alone. Lately it's been a matter of: He who feeds at the public trough gets far more than a case of heartburn--more like a case of severe food poisoning. (You can tell a lot about housekeepers' lifestyles if they keep a can of Raid on their kitchen table.)

In April, 2008, a Landmark state of Tennessee public corruption investigation--an FBI sting, conducted under the code name, Tennessee Waltz--was brought to a close with the conviction of a dozen state and local public officials. This included several state senators, a state representative, 2 county commissioners, and 2 school board members. Scam artists? It got so bad that the closest these people could get to making a fashion statement would be by wearing a designer jump suit.

The FBI's sting operation involved setting up a dummy corporation, one designed to distribute recycled surplus electronic equipment to third world countries. Bribes were offered. And, taken. Some of the legislators even introduced in their chambers the exact, same legislation that the FBI had written for them--in furtherance of its dummy corporation's cause. All told, $150,000 in bribe money was paid out.

It's said that confession is good for the soul, but bad for your career. It was career-preservation that was apparently the reason these cases went to trial. The old axiom--it's impossible to tell between a politician sitting on his hands, and one covering his butt--was apropos here. Some of these people proved to be so slick they could, literally, steal the shortening out of a biscuit without breaking the crust.

It's been long recognized on Capital Hill, in Washington, D.C., that you could well run into this temptation: If you apply for a job as a Congressional Staffer, and are asked if you lie, cheat, or steal, you can only say, no, but I'm willing to learn. Evidently, such conscientiousness has spilled over to 'fly-over" country too.

For the convicted scam artist politician--what with carrying humongous attorney's bills--reality has struck hard recently, with a clear message:

Yes, money talks, but--now--all yours says is , "Goodbye."


Dolcett said...

This is the ultimate. When so many politicians and public officials get into the scam act, how is there much hope for the rest of us?

Carl said...

This Tennessee thing was really big. I remember reading about it.

Lynn said...

How common are these FBI sting operations?

Terry said...

Confession is good for the soul, but bad for your career. Another great line, Jack.

Jack Payne said...

Sure is scary, isn't it, Dolcett?

The Tennessee public scandal did hit the news pretty big, Carl.

Luckily--to date, anyway--FBi "Stings" are still relatively common. Thank God! Once they are restricted, like so many of our laws have been lately--regarding the treatment of war combatants--we would all be in deep, deep trouble, as a nation.

Terry said...

I like money talks...but all yours says is goodbye. I like that line too.

Geme kranik said...

Warnings to beware of con artists is a slick new twist. I will just bet this alone would reassure a lot of people as to its legitimacy.

Oceanus Quinn said...

Hey there, man. I saw that you had added me as a friend on BlogCatalog and I felt like I should check out your blog!

Let me say that I completely agree with your post. Corruption runs rampant in Washington D.C., and unfortunately it hides behind a pretty or unassuming (or both) face so that the people are duped into believing that these corrupt politicians aren't up to anything questionable.

It's disgusting how easy it is to lie to the American people with empty promises and flawed excuses for past mistakes. Hopefully Barack Obama will change everything when he steps in and flips Washington upside down. He's the true maverick of this presidential race.

Sam said...

Sure thats right, political corruption is running wild in Washington. To me though, its the Democrats in Congress that can take the blame for that.

Nave said...

If nobody else is goin to look out for you the government has got to do it.

Dolcett said...

You can't have it both ways. Either the government gets in with both feet or its up to individual repsponsiblity to cope with these outrageous attacks on common sense.
It all comes down to the question, which do you want.

Earl T. Clydson said...

It's a two-way street. Either you have some smarts or you are a basket case waiting to be fleeced. Which is it? That's the only consideration.

Jack Payne said...

Yeah, Gene, I get a great charge out of the pot calling the kettle black.

I agree with you, Oceanus, on the need for a complete housecleaning in Washington. But, I do not agree with you that Obama is the answer.

Earl, your setiments are so close to mine that it is scary.

Bern said...

There's more to this than meets the eye. I think its the con boys ability to slip the noose by folding the tent quickly, then moving on. This is heavy-handed stuff, and require of them a real ability to quickly get lost in the dark.

Jack Payne said...

Yes, Bern, this is a primary skill of the con man--timing--his ability to disappear speedily, as the need requires.